The Twins/Triplets Come to Visit

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 05-06-2010

PEI Place!

PEI Place!

We recently sold our Toronto house, and moved into a 900 square foot apartment on the lake.  The space is, well, “cozy”, but the sunrises over the lakeview from our balcony are breathtaking.  And the boys don’t seem to mind the compacted space — Alex and Simon really enjoy their bunkbeds.

twins and triplets familyThe other day, our friends with twins and triplets (all boys!) came to visit…

It was the first time they had been to see our new place.  As they spilled out of their van, I realised there was no way they were all going to fit into our humble abode!  After a quick look see, we herded the masses down to the park next door and played for hours in the sunshine.

As the adults sat around talking, I realised two things:

1. The reduced financial stress of apartment living (vs a giant Toronto mortgage) really frees you up to just enjoy a sunny afternoon with the kids

2. Our boys were all big enough to play semi-supervised… the day we thought would never come when we were in the throes of bottles and diapers has finally arrived!

What a pleasure it was to watch all 7 boys play together.

How Do You Tell Twins Apart?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 03-06-2010

twins video gamesTheir voices, personalities and other small nuances make mono-zygotic twins Alex and Simon unidentical to us.  But then, we’re their parents.  And yes, we did rely on nail polish and positioning (see Class Three) for the first several months!  Now that the boys are six years old, we are trying to help others distinguish them as well.  A few months back, Alex and I went for a hair cut.  Simon decided to stay late at daycare and play with his friends.  We’ve kept the heady difference, and Simon’s hair is now quite long, making him clearly… NOT ALEX!  🙂

twins boys readingThey both appreciate their unique looks and the individual recognition it fosters amongst family and friends alike.

Volunteer Work

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 23-05-2010

I remember when our twin sons were born… my husband and I had been doing volunteer work with refugees and immigrants at Toronto’s Detention Ctre.  It all had to stop once we became parents, as they didn’t allow babies/children in the Centre.  As our babies grew into toddlers, we began searching for volunteer endeavors to do as a family; we really wanted to set the tone in our family about the value of giving back, and we wanted our children to learn about this while they were still young.  Alas, it seemed that any opportunity that might be open to having kids tag along somehow didn’t fit into our nap or bedtime schedule!  (Yes, we were still ruled  by the need to sleep at 3 years old!)

The boys are 6 now, and I recently decided to revisit the volunteering dilemma.  Typically my work in this area had involved interacting with people, but in an attempt to try something new, I did a little research on volunteer opportunities elsewhere in the city.  It wasn’t long until I discovered that one of our local greenspaces, the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, accepted volunteers every Wed evening from 6-8 p.m.  On the agenda: weeding, planting and just general outdoor labour.  The timing was ideal, just after dinner and before bedtime (well, we’d have to leave at 7:20 or so, but I figured if I brought extra labour, I shouldn’t feel bad about cutting out early!)

Twin B and I went to check it out last week.  Six year old Simon was perfect for the job of pulling mustard garlic from under some important shrubs that were being choked out.  Small and nimble, he easily crawled into tight places to pull the highly invasive weed!  He also enjoyed being outdoors and learning more about plants — his constant stream of chatter and questions were most entertaining to everyone there, and showed me a side of my son I don’t usually see in public.  Not sure if I would bring both boys next time, but in any case, it was a great opportunity for each boy to have some special time apart with one parent.

If you’re gazing in sleep-deprived stupour at your multiple newborns wondering how long the traumatic stage will last, and if you’ll ever get back to your “real life”, I can promise you this: As your babies grow from toddlers to children, these little people will make your real life richer than you can ever imagine!  If you really want to bond as they get older, consider doing some volunteer work with one or more of your multiples.  It’s a great way to expose them to something new, while teaching them strong community values and just getting to know them in a whole new way.

March Break with the Twins

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 27-03-2010

IMG_2927There comes a time in the realm of twins parenting when a parent might finally feel brave enough to embark on an overnight adventure alone with his or her multiples.  For me, this moment was March Break 2010.

Although I have taken several overnight trips alone with each individual boy, this is the first time I have been brave enough to attempt such an adventure with both Alex and Simon.  Read the rest of this entry »

When are Babies Ready to Feed?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 01-02-2010

Guest Column by Lynda P. Haddon, Multiple Birth Educator
Multiple Births Prenatal Education & Bereavement Support
www.multiplebirthsfamilies.com

First-time Moms especially worry about not recognizing their babies’ cues.  There are several ways a baby lets you know when s/he is ready to feed.  As they are waking they may stretch a little, maybe arch their back, smack their lips and/or tongues against the roof the mouth, or put a hand to the mouth and suck.

Babies who are NOT ready to feed will be quieter, move less, show very little mouth movement, and there may be movement noticeable under their eyelids (from REM sleep).  If your baby is in this state, it is not advised to wake him to feed but to let him continue to sleep until he is ready to wake on his own.  If woken too soon and not ready to feed due to sleeping soundly, it could become frustrating for both of you.

Babies are programmed to turn their head towards a nipple when held across the front of you, so another way to know if baby is ready to feed is if she is fussy, turning her head side ways trying to “root” for a nipple to feed. If this is the case and baby is not fed in a timely fashion say, because you are busy changing another baby, the situation could erupt into some full blown hollering to get your attention.  If a baby gets too worked up or angry, it can be a challenge to get her to settle down to feed.  Watching for the signs that each babies is ready to feed can help things move smoothly.

Think about how you feel when you are angry
and someone offers you a sandwich.

If you don’t manage to get to the baby(ies) before things get out of hand, focus on calming the baby down before trying feeding. Shushing, small bouncing while holding against your chest can work.  So can swaddling and shushing.  Don’t try to feed a baby when she is upset as she will just bring it all up again due to being agitated. Think about how you feel when you are angry and someone offers you a sandwich.  You won’t feel hungry until the feelings of anger have passed.  Calm baby down first and then offer the breast.  The breast is a familiar calming factor, once a baby is settled.

It won’t take long for you to read each baby’s cues so that you are able to recognize when each needs to be fed.  Best wishes.

Feeding Many Mouths

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 26-01-2010

Patricia-feeding-4Many expectant POMs wonder how they will breastfeed two or more babies.  Ironically, this important consideration is really only relevant in the intial stages of parenting.  Few consider the longer-term question of how to manage the logistics of multiple feedings once babies are eating solids.  For example, is it okay to use one bowl/spoon, or does each baby need his or her own feeding utensils?  Do you feed one at a time, saving valuable real estate vis-a-vis high chairs, or do you line ’em all up, and shovel the food in simultaneously?

Although there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feed your little ones, it may be helpful to consider some of these questions before your babies get to the solids stage, so that you and your family can think about how best to manage time and space with multiple babies. Read the rest of this entry »

Making Lasagna – A Language Experience

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 18-01-2010

With babies, even the mundane can be exciting.  Every daily task can be an opportunity for language development. 

Research demonstrates that one significant difference between “successful” and “not yet ready” readers in grade one was the sheer number of words they had been exposed to in their early years.  Since multiple birth children are sometimes considered “at risk” for language development, this finding is key.  Exposing our young twins, triplets or more to language is someone every parent can do!

Beyond the much touted task of reading to your infants and toddlers, involving them in every day chores, and talking to them as you complete these activities, is one way to enrich their vocabulary exposure.  While walking to the park, shopping at the grocery store, waiting at a red light, riding the bus, TALK!  Comment on everything around you.  “Look, there’s a tall tree!”  or “Do you hear the bird?  He’s singing a beautiful song for you!  Do you hear him chirping?” or “Well, we need 4 red apples, let’s count out four apples:  1-2-3-4, there, let’s put them into our basket.”  Each of these statements, while mundane to you, is infinately fascinating to your young child.

I remember making lasagnas with our twin boys when they were about 18 months old.  My husband would take one twin grocery shopping or on some other errand.  I would plunk the other into his high chair in the kitchen, and begin making lasagnas.  You can imagine the language development seeds that were planted during this exercise. 

“Okay”, I would begin, “First we have to boil some water for the lasagna noodles…”  Later, Alex would get to examine a “squishy” lasagna noodle in his hand and with his mouth, consolidating his idea of “basana”, as he referred to the pasta at the time.  He also observed “chop”, “zuccini” and “layer the ingredients” first hand, and sampled many chopped up vegetables in the process.  To this day, Alex in his high chair, surrounded by bits of lasagna fixings, is one of my favourite early parenting memories!

By including your young multiples in the ordinary, everyday tasks of life, you are equipping them with important language, words they will return to throughout their lives.

Multiples Plus Dog

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 16-01-2010

Spencer-these-are-MY-babiesWhen we first brought Alex and Simon home from the hospital, we wondered how our old dog, Spencer, might react.  Best described physically as part giraffe, part brillo pad, Spencer was a Toronto Humane Society rescue, and we had had him for most of his adult life.  At nearly 16, I wondered if he wasn’t getting a bit old to be introduced to two new babies in the house!

As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about.  We brought the two carseats in, put them on the living room floor, and waited to see what would happen.  Spencer came over to sniff things out a bit, then wandered off. Read the rest of this entry »

2 Daddies, 4 Babies

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 06-01-2010

all-fourIf you are expecting twins, triplets or more, you may be wondering how you will manage multiple babies all by yourself during your maternity or parental leave.  With the advent of non-gender-specific parental leave in many countries, men are availing themselves of the opportunity to spend some or all of the time allotted with their children.

This is particularly true for multiple births families, where the added physical, emotional and financial strain often has parents-to-be considering the “best” option from a variety of angles.  For example, dad’s employer may “top up”, in which case it may be more financially lucrative for mom to continue working while dad stays home with the babies. Read the rest of this entry »

New Year’s Eve with Captain Underwear and his Companion!

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Sleep | Posted on 02-01-2010

Happy New Year!

As Twin B informed me tearfully last night, while I was attempting in vain to send him to bed, “New Year’s is a time for the whole family to be together, even children!”  The boys insisted they be allowed to stay downstairs for the new year’s party we were hosting (who can afford a babysitter new year’s eve?!).  We finally caved, and agreed that they could stay until all the guests had arrived.  Alex and Simon shouted with glee, and immediately made preparations to greet our company in style.

Twin boys new yearsAlready in their jammies, the boys outfitted themselves with socks on their hands (“paws”), and underwear “helmets” on their heads.  Thus transformed, Doctor Rhino and Agent Tortoise awaited — with anticipation — the arrival of our guests.

I must say, at nearly six years old, the whole thing went off better than I had imagined.  As babies, the twins often had major meltdowns when they got tired, but as time marches on, their tolerance level seems to have risen slightly… or maybe it was the late afternoon nap they had caught at the daycare that day, lol!  In any case, the underwear duo were in fine form, and still happily sampling the various snacks at the table when at 10:30., we finally laid down the law and sent the troops upstairs to be tucked in by one of their “aunties”.

Having gone to bed so late, we anticipated a later wake-up time the next morning, which we sorely needed (especially my husband, that special twins dad, who had had a wee bit too much to drink)!

Our victory was a compromise at best:  We fell into bed around 2:30 a.m., and the boys – usually bright eyed and bushy tailed by 6:30 a.m., slept in until… wait for it… 7:45 a.m.!

Don’t be so sure the sleep deprivation ends once your babies begin sleeping through the night!  If you like to party, you may never get 6-8 hours again, hehe.